Adrenal insufficiency



A condition that happens when the adrenal glands don't make enough of certain hormones.


With adrenal insufficiency, the body becomes low on hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol helps the body use blood sugar, helps control the immune system and plays other key roles. There are two main types of adrenal insufficiency. Each has various causes, such as autoimmune disease, tumors, infection or as a side effect of some medicines.


Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency can include tiredness, muscle cramps, salt craving, frequent infections and skin darkening. Loss of pubic or armpit hair and lower sex drive may affect people born female. Without treatment, adrenal insufficiency can cause emergency symptoms such as fainting, severe low blood pressure and extreme weakness.


Adrenal insufficiency treatment includes medicines to replace the hormones that healthy adrenal glands make. Medicines are taken on a schedule each day. A person's treatment plan depends on the type of adrenal insufficiency and how serious it is. Treatment for emergency symptoms may include medicines, fluids and sugars through a needle in a vein.